Foothill Rails--Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe
Camino Placerville & Lake Tahoe
A Michigan-California Lumber Co. predecessor first built it's planing mill in Placerville,CA, the end of the line for a Southern Pacific branchline. It was originally planned to run the narrow guage logging road to this mill from South Cable, however the mill was soon moved to Camino and the narrow guage ended there. As a rail connection was still desired, it was decided to build a standard guage line from the new mill in Camino to Placerville. This line became the Placerville and Lake Tahoe and was completed in 1904.
Both the narrow and standard guage lines were owned by the lumber co. and in 1911, C.D. Danaher took over the entire operation. It was he who added the "Camino" to the P & LT name, thus the standard guage line became the Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe RR.
Except for a brief time between 1908 and 1911, the CP & LT was a very profitable operation hauling lumber from both the mill in Camino and the Placerville Lumber Co. mill at Smith Flat. Other loads carried were gravel for construction of US Highway 50, equipment and supplies for construction of a dam on the south fork of the American River as well as mail.
Service on the line ended in June of 1986 with scrapping completed that December. Now the mill in Camino, operating under the Sierra Pacific Lumber Co. banner, was served by truck until closure in 2009. Scrapping of several portions of the site thus began.
Much of the right of way has been turned into a recreational trail. This trail is paved and is open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. Where the Hwy. 50 grade crossing was, now stands a large cement pedestrian bridge allowing passage over the heavily traveled roadway.
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